China-India conflict this time will be part of global Cold War

  • IASbaba
  • June 2, 2020
  • 0
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Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources 

China-India conflict this time will be part of global Cold War

Context: The recent India-China border clashes and other actions by China has reaffirmed its aggressive behaviour which doesn’t sit well with its aspiration of becoming Global Superpower.

China has begun a confrontation on three fronts. 

  1. Hong Kong
    • In 1898 British had taken the Hong Kong island on lease for 99 years from the then Qing dynasty of China (after defeat in Opium wars)
    • Britain eventually agreed to transfer the island to China upon the expiration of that lease in 1997, after obtaining guarantees from China to preserve Hong Kong’s systems, freedoms, and way of life for at least 50 years
    • China had promised to maintain a special status for Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.
    • China is now poised to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong, which increases China’s control over Hong Kong
    • The passage of law by National Assembly of China means that China has effectively abrogated the treaty with the UK. 
  1. Taiwan
    • Taiwan was where the defeated regime of Chiang Kai-Shek, China’s last non-communist president, retired when the Communist Party captured Beijing.
    • In the Chinese Constitution there is a pledge to regain Taiwan.
    • President Xi Jinping has, without provocation, called for incorporation of Taiwan back into mainland China after 71 years
  1. Tibet/India
    • China takes the view that when it was weak in the last two centuries, Britain took advantage, seized Chinese (or Tibetan) territory and incorporated it in British India.
    • China began to ask for it from independent India in Jawaharlal Nehru’s days. 
    • Nehru took the view that territory of British India (Partition apart) was Indian territory.

India-China confrontation – A part of larger narrative

  • All the above three demands relate to the core programme of Chinese nationalism. 
  • It is the desire of China’s President to have a united all Chinese territory under one rule.
  • China wants to regain its pole position in the world – Middle Earth – as it was till the 17th century
  • This requires China to be the top economic-military power with firm grip over its territories which means a greater integration of its lands
  • In 5G technology, China has already outstripped US as the Huawei controversy shows
  • Also, China wants to deflect the domestic criticism of its handling of Corona pandemic by raising the passion of Nationalism
  • India-China confrontation has to viewed in the larger narrative of assertive Chinese Nationalism as it nears its centenary goals (2049 – 100th anniversary of formation of People’s Republic of China)

What has been the reaction of USA?

  • On Hong Kong, UK is yet to respond to China’s actions as it cannot single-handedly stop Xi from taking over Hong Kong.
  • The Americans are, however, coming to Hong Kong’s help. 
  • President Trump’s administration has asked US Congress to place sanctions on Hong Kong regarding travel and financial transactions with the US.
  • If the Congress agrees, Hong Kong is finished as a global financial centre.
  • On 5G front, US wants to fight China on that front through sanctions in cooperation with Europe.

Way Ahead

  • This time the China-India confrontation will not be an isolated affair with India friendless as in 1962.
  • It will be part of a global (hopefully) Cold War.
  • By 2006 itself, India had arrived at a tacit understanding with USA to help each other out if a war with China was to break out for either country. So the US may help India. 
  • So India on land and US in the seas, hopefully with US air support India can effectively overcome the challenges of Chinese assertiveness along borders

Connecting the dots:

  • Disintegration of USSR and the end of Cold War
  • Trade War in post-COVID world

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